Dr Kwaku Afriyie, the Minister of Environmental, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has commissioned and handed over a 16-patios fenced crop drying platform to the Chief and people of Tarikom in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region.
The project constructed as part of the implementation of the Sustainable Land and Water Management Project (SLWMP), was to offer members of the community and beyond drying avenues to enable people harvest and dry their crops to prevent destruction from animals and post-harvest losses.
The SLWMP is a 10-year project funded by a Global Environment Facility Grant under the auspices of the World Bank with the main goal of promoting improved sustainable land and water management practices through integrated landscape approach.
It would help reduce land degradation through land restoration and enhance proliferation of biodiversity in selected communities in the five regions of the north.
The beneficiary Districts are Wa East, Sissala East, Sissala West and Daffiama-Buissie-Issa in the Upper West Region.
In the Upper East Region, the Districts are Builsa South, Kassena Nankana West, Bawku West and Talensi, while West Mamprusi and Mamprugu Moagduri are in the North East Region and West Gonja and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba in the Savannah Region.
The project is being implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Forestry Commission among others.
The Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Sefwj-Wiaso, said the crop drying platform was to contribute to reduce the destruction of crops on the farm and post-harvest losses in order to increase yields and improve food security.
Already, about 3,043 farmers from 25 communities in the Bawku West District were benefitting from various interventions under the SLWMP including riparian vegetation, bonding, compost and preparations.
The Minister said the drying platform would support the farmers in the area and its environs to harvest their crops early and dry them well before packaging.
He said the facility had canopies which would be used to cover the crops whenever it was raining to prevent the proceeds from going bad.
Mr Kingsley Amoako, Agriculture Focal Person for the SLWMP, noted that the crop drying platform was constructed as a result of persist complaints of animal destruction of crops at the farms and their various homes.
“When the crops mature on the fields, there is a physiology maturity period that they are supposed to harvest, but because they don’t have anywhere to dry them, they leave the crops on the fields to mature fully before they harvest. But by that time the crops will be infested with weevils and other pests.
“Because the livestock are not also penned, they feed, defecate and urinate on the crops making them unhygienic and so this project is to solve challenges to improve quality and achieve food security,” Mr Amoako added.
The community members expressed gratitude to government for addressing their concerns, especially with regards to the crop drying platform and promised to take good care of the facility to achieve maximum benefits.
Madam Mary Adiok, a member of the community, noted that although the SLWMP’s interventions in the area had led to the women harnessing the potentials of trees to improve upon their livelihoods, they were appealing to the government through the sector Minister to construct a big dam in the community to enable them engage in dry season farming.